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Rut or Groove

This is day 13 in my 31 Days series on sustainable dwelling. For an introduction and more posts, head here!

There is no frigate like a book
to take us lands away.
Nor any courser like a page
of prancing poetry -
This traverse may the poorest take
without oppress of toll -
How frugal is the chariot
that bears the human soul!
{Emily Dickinson}

I love reading - always have, since I first learned how (well, before, really - I'd bring Mum stacks of books and sit patiently while she read them aloud. I think she still has Dr Seuss's ABCs memorized...) And one of my favorite parts about reading is the ability to experience eras and cultures beyond my own, broadening my horizon from the comfort of an armchair.

Alright, it's a show, but it's produced in the UK and I've got the books it's based on half-memorized. And I realized how many British actors I've been exposed to (both in American and British productions) when Adam was struggling to understand one character because he spoke too quickly.

In a time when the entire globe is wirelessly connected, it is unconscionable to remain ignorant about what's going on beyond our own 6-mile radius. We can access literature (and other media) from practically every country translated into our language (or we can bestir ourselves to learn a new language - there's an app for that), and we can follow a 24 hour news cycle around the world at the touch of a button.

local coaster featuring a local business, local bangle, fair trade mug, fair trade earrings, locally made leather journal, tag on refugee project by fair trade clothing company, fair trade pen pouch - all conscious choices

So what does this have to do with sustainable dwelling? Everything. If we keep puttering along in our own comfortable, convenient ruts, never tiptoeing to see what's going outside our well-worn groove, nothing is going to change. We'll all just keep going the same direction that we're going. But that's gotten us record numbers of trafficked humans and an increasing gap between the upper and lower classes, worldwide - we need a new direction.

We need to read labels. To ask questions. To make conscious choices. To get news from reliable sources. To engage in open discussion. To send emails. To make phone calls. To raise awareness. And most of all, we need to pray - because unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.

Beautiful dwelling is seeking hard after justice, loving (really loving, not just loving-like-you-love-chocolate-and-Benedict-Cumberbatch) mercy, and staying (or becoming) humble - because the Savior we serve is the only One who can work lasting change; we just get to be the vessels He works through.


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31 Days of Unraveling Designs

It's that time of year again... the 31 Days writing challenge starts today! Bloggers from all over will be writing every day of the month of October on the topic of their choosing. This will be my fourth year participating - the first year I did 7 for 31, and spent a month going through Jen Hatmaker's book 7. The second year I did 31 Days of Sustainable Dwelling, and wrote about local and fair trade living. Last year I was busy but still wanted to participate, so I went the easy route with 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful.

This year I'm diving into my greatest passion: knitting! I'll spend this month looking at past designs and talking about the inspiration behind them, so there will be plenty of regular life mixed in with the stitching - and there may be discount codes for the patterns that I write about. You'll just have to read and see!

Pattern index:

Pageturner Mitts
Hogwarts House Tie
Urban Artemis
Graffiti for Humanity
Love Out Loud
Strange Jacket


In order to change your knitting, you must first change yourself. I've lost track of how many times I've said that, or how many people I've said it to. Frustrated new knitters wondering why their work is loose or tight or uneven or really anything less than perfect. But something I love about knitting is that it's a record of your inner dialogue. That swatch knit at the yarn store table with a cozy cup of coffee and a helpful (and more experienced) knitter nearby is going to be a lot more relaxed than the sweater begun a week later while sitting next to a hospital bed - just like the knitter.

Unfortunately, this also applies to my own knitting. For years, I was apparently unaffected by the shifts and turmoils in my own life, so I assumed that I was exempt from the rule - when the reality was, in fact, that I wasn't really experiencing any of those on anything deeper than a surface level because everything was deadened by depression. When I finally started to really…


A few years ago, I was introduced to the concept of replacing the traditional list of resolutions with a single word. It appealed to me - I am not a big list person, but I love language and words and meanings and etymology and metaphor and... ahem. Ennyhoo. I liked the idea.
I've never chosen the word. It's always presented itself to me - and last year was no different. Pacific was very insistent, even though I tried to argue with it. Pacific? What does that even mean? What am I supposed to do with that?
But I accepted it, and I'm glad I did. I learned about depth and calm, about storm and nurture, about faith and adventure - and about the unstoppable ocean of God's grace, that overwhelms to fill and cleanse and bring blessings unasked.
So I'm bidding pacific a very fond farewell, and welcoming spark and whatever lessons it would like to bring. I invited it in with a copper wire punctuated with tiny lights and wrapped around my mood board, and I've got an empt…